Sinn Féin has criticised the Irish Greyhound Board for the way it handled the construction of the new stadium in Limerick.
The stadium was opened in 2010 but the costs associated with it have heaped debt on the organisation and prompted an admission to the Department of Agriculture that the company is under serious financial pressure.
Sinn Féin’s agriculture spokesman, Michael Colreavy, said the extent of construction deals covered under unwritten agreements was unacceptable.
He was referring to a gentleman’s agreement struck between the IGB and the company selling it land for the stadium, Limerick Racecourse Company.
This covered the raising of the flood plain by two metres.
Mr Colreavy said if the IGB had accepted the terms of an offer to raise to land without firming it up in writing then it had shown poor management.
“The agreement was never written in a formal contract and following the collapse of the deal, the Irish Greyhound Board had to complete the work itself, at a cost of €2.4m,” he said.
“It has been reported that the Irish Greyhound Board also rejected advice of solicitors and engineers who were concerned about the lack of protection surrounding the deal. The Irish Greyhound Board is currently €25m in debt.
“If these allegations are true, this activity is unacceptable from the semi-state body and questions must be answered as to why there was such poor judgement on the issue.”
The IGB has defended its decision to enter into a gentleman’s agreement despite it ultimately breaking down and costing the board €2.4m.
The semi-state company said it was envisaged it would have the land on the site raised for free but when Limerick Racecourse Company couldn’t do this the IGB had to complete the work itself.
The cost of the work, a breakdown of other unwritten arrangements regarding the provision of a €1.2m car park, and an inability to offload sites scuppered profit projections and led to its debt problems.
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